POLITICS: White House

Gutterball: White House bowling alley won't be renovated after contract draws criticism

By |
Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Sports,White House,Barack Obama,Spending,Blake Seitz

The White House abruptly cancelled a contract to renovate the Harry S. Truman Bowling Alley after it drew political criticism.

On Wednesday, Time reported that the General Services Administration had issued a federal contractor posting for the EEOB Bowling Alley, referring to its home in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

The Truman Bowling Alley was built in the West Wing in 1947 as a birthday present for its namesake, who actually hadn't played since he was a teenager. The alley was moved to the EEOB in 1955. Another lane was installed underneath the White House at the request of President Richard Nixon in 1969.

While most presidents have made the short jaunt to the EEOB for a bowling alley photo op (including President Obama, who professes no interest in such things), few besides President Nixon have made frequent trips.

The GSA contract would have overhauled the alley, which has sustained decades of dropped balls and shoe scuffs.

"It has been 15 years since these lanes have had any professional, industry standard maintenance, modifications, repair or attention," the contract states. "They are now irreparable."

The contract specified that the lanes were to be replaced in accordance with "industry standard specifications ... as set forth by the United States Bowling Congress," with environmentally-friendly synthetic materials used for the lanes, approach and pin deck. The contract did not specify how much the proposed overhaul would cost.

Republicans were quick to jump on the contract as an example of the president's priorities.


The contract's sudden cancellation was perhaps to be expected, as the lanes have given President Obama grief once before. In 2009 Obama remarked on "The Tonight Show" that his poor bowling performance was "like the Special Olympics." His joke drew criticism -- and a challenge from a top-flight Special Olympics bowler. Obama later apologized for his comments.
View article comments Leave a comment

More from washingtonexaminer.com